Guest Chick: Francelia Belton

Leslie, here, pleased to welcome back to the Chicks the fab Francelia Belton. ‘Tis the season for–or not for–new year’s resolutions, and here’s a terrific take on the issue by Francelia:

To Resolute, or Not Resolute, That is the Quandary.

First off, I would like to thank all the Chicks for having me back on the blog again. It’s an honor, and one that I don’t take lightly. So thank you!

Well, here we are, another year before us. January, a time of fresh starts and New Year Resolutions, which most of the general population do not, or can not keep, including yours truly. It’s already mid-January and I have already not kept the very simple resolution I made on December 31st, which was to write Every. Single. Freaking. Day. I broke that chain on January 4th.

Yes, folks, I couldn’t even make it a full week.

What is it about unkempt promises to ourselves, that is so well…gut-wrenching ? And why do we keep doing this to ourselves?

Or, maybe I’m the only sad sack who can’t keep up with such a simple goal?

To be fair, I have written ten out of the fifteen days, so I probably should give myself a little slack. Nobody’s perfect, and maybe we shouldn’t expect perfection from ourselves. We should allow ourselves a little grace.

I am working on that. I am learning not to beat myself up for not always being able to do the things I set out to do. Doing what I can as I can has to be good enough.

So I decided to change my resolution for the new year. All I need to do is show up to the page every day. Yep, you heard that right. All I need to do is walk to my writing office and sit in front of the blank page. If I actually write something, well, hey-hey, that’s a bonus, and while we’re at it, why not order a ticker tape parade? This girl is on a roll.


But in all seriousness, being able to accomplish any goal always starts with the first step. Baby steps in my case. But I’ll take it. Because if I take these steps every day, no matter how tiny and inconsequential to someone else, I know that I have taken a HUGE step in accomplishing my goal.

You see, I know if I show up to the page every day, soon I’ll be writing every day. And not long after that I’ll have a nice inventory of stories in my story shop, and that’s the ultimate goal that I’m running after.

So here’s to New Year’s Resolutions; a step in the right direction to achieving one’s goal!


Readers: What baby steps have you taken over the years to help you meet your resolutions or goals?

ABOUT FESTIVE MAYHEM 3:

This limited-edition collection includes brand-new stories set throughout the year, as well as some reissued seasonal favorites. Whether you enjoy humorous cozy mysteries with plucky amateur sleuths, or hard-boiled noir starring gritty private investigators, this anthology is for you. The anthology is disappearing after January 31, 2023, so don’t wait! It would be criminal to miss it! It’s available at all ebook retailers: https://www.crimewritersofcolor.com/bookdetails?book=147


What you’ll find inside:

  • “Black Easter” by Francelia Belton. In 1967, a militant husband and father tries to push his political views onto his wife’s conservative family at the annual Easter social—and things don’t end well.
  • “A Deadly First” by Delia C. Pitts. Thanksgiving takes a fatal turn when New York private eye SJ Rook finds himself thrust into his first murder case in this darkly atmospheric tale of noir. (Originally published with the first Festive Mayhem.)
  • “Whiteout Wipeout” by Paige Sleuth. A lost cat leads Cherry Hills, Washington, animal rescue maven and amateur sleuth Imogene Little to the body of a murdered man at the start of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend.
  • “The Troublesome Rich Girl” by Stella Oni. When Elizabeth agreed to look out for the rebellious teenager Tayo Adelaja and her cousin Angelica, she enlisted the help of the Mews hotel’s social media obsessed apprentice, Rosie O’Toole—only for the three to disappear!
  • “Trace of Lace” by Barbara Howard. On the eve of his wedding day, Milo has to save his bride when news of a serial killer near Birston College puts the campus on lockdown.
  • “A Christmas Tip” by Elizabeth Wilkerson. A surprise Christmas bonus becomes too tempting for Philadelphia nursing assistant Brianna Byers to resist—even if accepting requires some skillful skirting of the law. (Originally published with the first Festive Mayhem.)
  • “Serenade for Suicide” by Carolyn Marie Wilkins. The melody turns deadly when music teacher Bertie Bigelow invites her Grammy-winning ex to give a songwriting workshop at an inner-city community college.

ABOUT FRANCELIA:

Francelia Belton’s love of short stories came from watching old Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock Presents television shows in her youth. She published a collection titled, Crime & Passion: Three Short Stories, and her fiction has appeared in various publications, including “Dreaming of Ella” in Denver Noir and “Black Easter” in Festive Mayhem 3.

She is an active member of Sisters in Crime and has served as President (2019-2021) and Vice President (2015-2018) for the Colorado chapter. She is also an active member of Mystery Writers of America and Crime Writers of Color.

Francelia can be found online at: https://FranceliaBelton.com/ or Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/francelia.belton/ or Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15972908.Francelia_Belton

50 thoughts on “Guest Chick: Francelia Belton

  1. “We should allow ourselves a little grace.” What a great way of putting it.I think we get too hard on ourselves – in all areas – when we fail to live up to our ideals. It’s something I’m working on.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I don’t male New Year’s resolutions, but I think your resolution should have been “learning not to beat myself up for not always being able to do the things I set out to do” – that’s something that will make life better! The book sounds wonderful, I just ordered a copy of the ebook.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I hear that, Judith! I put ridiculously unrealistic deadlines on things and then get so mad at myself when I “fail.” My baby steps here is to keep putting ridiculous deadlines, but not get mad at myself.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. That’s a good one, Becky! We got to stop getting mad at ourselves for not meeting our goals, but instead, just try, try again. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Thank you, Judith! You’re right about not beating ourselves up! It’s gotten easier for me now that I’m older and realize that all the things I thought were sooo important really weren’t. I hope you enjoy the anthology; thank you for purchasing! 🙂

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  3. You’re doing better on the writing front this year than I am, Francelia! And I love how you changed your resolution to just show up. That’s half the battle. Here’s to what I hope will end up being a productive writing year for all of us!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Great post, Francelia! I, too, am not always 100% successful with the “just-show-up” idea. I’m on my computer 24-7, just not necessarily in the WIP doc. I tell myself that’s because the story/movie is playing in the back of my mind (true), but maybe I need to do a little more hands-on daily directing of my temperamental actors and rely less on my temperamental scriptwriter.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Lisa! Yes, sometimes just showing up is not enough. The internet is a great distraction. But I get better with it day-by-day. That’s what counts. 🙂

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  5. I was just talking about this to someone who was beating herself up for not wanting to focus on her edits. I told her when I’m deep in the throes of “I don’t wanna!” then I tell myself the same thing I say to get on the treadmill … you only have to do 10 minutes, then you can get off. By the time I’m writing/editing/exercising, it’s not as bad as I thought so it’s easy to keep going. It’s that first step that’s hard.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. YES! That’s so true! It’s usually getting started, that’s the hardest part. Most times, once I get going, I’m good to go. 🙂

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    1. I think that’s true, Jen, but I’ve been struggling with a head/chest cold and extra childcare for the grandlittles, and I am kinda freakin’ out! My desk is a mess, but I can’t concentrate long enough to do what I need to do. So I think your concept of “tiny break” is spot on.

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  6. I’m not much of one for new year’s resolutions, but I absolutely set resolutions/goals for myself–just not on Jan. 1, lol. And I’m pretty good at sticking to them–but perhaps that’s because I’ve learned over the years to only set goals I know I can accomplish. Baby steps!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I try to set goals that I believe I can accomplish, but sometimes it doesn’t always work out that way. LOL. But I’m baby stepping my way to that. 🙂

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  7. Hi Francelia: Love love love “show up to the page”–that’s such a wonderful way of putting it. So happy you’re visiting us today. Great post.

    Wishing you and everyone a very productive and creative 2023!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Love this post, Francelia. I’m like Leslie, lots of small goals and baby steps toward a big goal but throughout the year, not only at the first. I wish you lots of fun and progress this year! AND just think how far you’ve come since we first met! Awesome!

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  9. Love this post and all the wonderful responses. We’re in this together, struggling to find ways to get ourselves to sit down and do the work. I say this after I just spent the last hour reorganizing boxes in the storage room in order to avoid edits. I needed this post!!

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    1. Thanks, Barbara! Aah, doing the household chores rather than the writing work ploy. Been there, done that. LOL I hope you were inspired to work on your edits today. 🙂

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  10. I am really encouraged by your article Francelia as I believe we’re too hard on ourselves sometimes. Discipline and habit are not developed in a day or on a whim so moving in the right direction is just as good. Thanks so much for your insight.

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    1. Thank you for stopping by, Stella! You’re right; good habits are not developed in a day. I gotta stop expecting it to magically happen. lol 😀

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  11. We’re so happy to have you back, Francelia! What a wonderful post!

    I love the idea of showing up to the page. When I was training for a half-marathon waaaaaaaaaaay back when, my (nearly literal) baby steps were to get dressed and go outside. Then I’d ramp from there. Run for five minutes. Run ten minutes more. Etc. It worked!

    Thanks for hanging out with us and sharing this inspiration!

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    1. Thank you, Kathleen! I love what you did to get to running that half-marathon. That sounded like the best way to go. Glad you were able to run it! That’s an huge accomplishment; I’d be lucky if I could run around the block. lol Happy New Year! 🙂

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  12. Francelia, Rome wasn’t built in a day; we’re not machines, and legend has it John Grisham wrote his first novel while working in the state legislature, one page every night for 365 days. As for your exercise regimen, WTG you!!! The Chicks have already given you terrific advice. I remember sitting in a long ago Sisters in Crime meeting where you expressed uncertainty about your writing. You have blown that uncertainty out of the water. I know firsthand that life happens when we’re making other plans. Baby steps, indeed!!! Go you!!! xo

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    1. Thank you, Donnell! That first SinC-CO meeting seems so long ago, but I’m glad I stay with the group. It’s been a great inspiration for sure! Thank you for your encouragement through the years. 🙂

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  13. Awesome post at an awesome time! Love the “just show up” part–when I “don’t wanna,” as Becky stated, simply getting my butt in the chair is the hardest part! Because, you know, there’s laundry to do, dusting and vacuuming to do, dust bunnies to chase, dust motes to contemplate, dreaming to do…As Donnell stated, It’s been such a joy to watch your writing career grow over the past 7 years, Francelia, bringing so many others joy through your stories!

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    1. Thank you, Rhonda! Getting the butt in the chair is definitely the hardest part. Lol. Also, thank you for being a friend throughout these years. It’s a pleasure knowing you. 🙂

      Like

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